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Saanich-Gulf Islands Conservative candidate apologizes for Black Lives Matter comments

David Busch asked if protesters wanted lynchings, BLM organizer says it’s a learning opportunity
The Conservative candidate for Saanich Gulf-Islands has apologized for past comments he made about the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that followed the murder of George Floyd. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Trelford)

The Conservative candidate for Saanich–Gulf Islands has apologized for past comments he made about the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that followed the murder of George Floyd.

Video clips of David Busch show him speculating that racial-justice protesters wanted the officers involved in Floyd’s killing to be “lynched.”

“What type of justice exactly are these people looking for? Do they want the accused to be handed over to the mob and lynched?” the Tory candidate said.

Taleeb Noormohamed, the Liberal candidate for Vancouver-Granville, posted the compilation of clips of Busch on Twitter. It’s not clear where the selfie-style videos were originally posted.

Busch’s campaign didn’t accept an interview request and said they have nothing more to add after he posted an apology on Aug. 20. The campaign then declined a second request for comment.

In the videos, the candidate also said: “How many people (were) assaulted or killed during those riots during this past summer?”

“The criminals who are using as an excuse, this tragic event, to loot and to burn, they need to be brought to justice every bit as much as the four thugs who ended Mr. Floyd’s life need be brought to justice,” he said in another.

Busch apologized for his “insensitive remarks” in an Aug. 20 tweet.

“That’s not who I am as a person,” he said. “Conservative Party candidates strive to be respectful and inclusive of others. To those who I offended, please accept my sincere apology.”

Pamphinette Buisa – organizer of a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally in Victoria attended by thousands last summer – said it was frightening to see Busch use language like “these people,” as she said that promotes an us-and-them mentality.

“Seeing that this person wants to be in office and wants to advocate and be a representative is quite concerning,” she said. “We just want to be a part of the conversation, we just want to be seen as human, and to deter the conversation in any other direction apart from that is missing the movement as a whole.”

READ: Thousands attend rally for Black lives in downtown Victoria

Movements pushing for more equality – especially racial equality – often face people trying to hyper-focus on violence, Buisa said. The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project called the 2020 BLM protests “an overwhelmingly peaceful movement.”

Pamphinette Buisa (left) at a 2020 rally for Black lives in Victoria. (Black Press Media File Photo)

It’s important, Busia said, for those wanting to hold positions of power to engage with different perspectives - especially with those who have historically been left out of the conversation. She said leaders should ask themselves who they’re accountable to, speaking for and where they’re coming from.

As for Busch’s comment about lynching, she said, “I can’t even comment on that because it’s just very disturbing.”

“This is an opportunity for him to learn and I think that’s a positive thing,” Buisa said. “With a lot of people’s engagement with various movements, you’re not going to get it right the first time, you’re going to make mistakes.”

Given the opportunity to talk with Busch, Buisa said she would first check-in on his well-being, before trying to see where he’s coming from and why he feels the way he does.

“Instead of that us-and-them conversation, it’s us, and how can we all engage moving forward.”

When asked if he stands by Busch and if the views expressed in the video reflect those of his party, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole didn’t mention his candidate while answering, but said “we all have a role in stamping out racism, intolerance, anti-Semitism.”

“We must and will have conversations in a responsible and informed way to tackle inequalities in our society,” he said during a Winnipeg campaign stop.

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Jake Romphf

About the Author: Jake Romphf

In early 2021, I made the move from the Great Lakes to Greater Victoria with the aim of experiencing more of the country I report on.
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